no-buy december: year in review
It’s Christmas morning. It’s just a regular Sunday. I’m in another loud cafe, my computer on my lap, a mug of coffee in hand. Writing, editing, having a breakfast. Coffee machines whirr in the background, a Christmas song plays in the speakers. They just burned a pastry, a smell of charred dough hangs in the air and a finger of smoke rises. People laugh and chat. I need to work, finish up the Christmas posts for work. Maybe then, the rest of the day, I can take a nice walk in the rain, in the chilly weather. It’s almost noon.
I haven’t bought a pen in one and a half months. I bought two bottles of ink a month ago. One of them was a 250ml bottle of a lovely green that I got as more of a gag, and the other one was a 3 euro Faber-Castell Turquoise, a risk I was willing to take with Amazon’s ink shipping.
We don’t really celebrate Christmas, only the New Year’s. Gifts are opened during the first few minutes of 1st of January. It’s an act of giving thanks for friends and family, and also a good wish for the coming year. Here’s a gift for you, thanks for being here.
Here’s a gift for you, let the new year be as plentiful and happy as it is now.
When I say I haven’t gotten anything pen-related for a month, it makes me feel proud. And being proud of that makes me feel like an addict. Honestly, it’s not that big of an achievement for me, I shop at most once a month, if I have money left over. Perhaps the important part is that it was deliberate, not forced. I decided not to buy any pens for two months. I decided not to buy inks/notebooks for a month.
In the end, I don’t miss buying anything. I rarely get swept up in FOMO anyway, so most of the temptation came from r/Pen_Swap. I might’ve arranged some stuff after January though…
Hey, it’s no buy month(s), not no-arrangement! I don’t feel the need to keep buying pens. On the contrary, focusing my attention on my existing collection enabled me to think about the pens I own and what I already enjoy. Some of them need to go, no matter how much I love them. If I’m not using it, I cannot justify keeping it. The only exception to this rule are the Lamy Safari’s and Kaweco Sport’s. You’ll have to pry them from my cold, dead hands.
All this thinking makes me question my buying habits. If I don’t feel pressured to buy new pens, or feeling like I’m missing out when I don’t, why do I keep buying new pens?
It’s a question with nuanced answers, so let me try to explain it through some of my purchases this year.
Why do I keep buying pens?
1- Sailor Professional Gear Realo
I’m not an impulse shopper and I usually look at second-hand options before buying new. I think all of my decisions thoroughly and spend hours doing research before committing to a purchase. I enjoy learning and knowing the pens as much as I like using them. All of that is distilled into my decision of buying the Realo. I spend weeks looking out on the second-hand market. With a bit of luck, I got this pen for an amazing price, in the exact configuration I wanted it. A hard-fine nib, the flat top shape, all black, with almost no marks of use. It has been inked ever since, I can’t stand not using it.
2- Pilot Custom Heritage 92
I like to think that I’m finally starting to learn what I like in fountain pens. As a result of that, all of my inked pens are from the past year or so. The rest are slowly getting phased out and mostly sold. This is my ultimate daily-use pen. It’s a crystal clear demonstrator with an amazingly soft fine nib, a piston filler, flat top, small-ish size and a gift from a person I love dearly. It doesn’t get much better than this.
3- Giants’ Pens Custom
It was a bit of a risk of buying this pen, because the size is out of my comfort zone. It’s much larger than I’m accustomed to. It was the first custom pen I bought, made from one of my favourite blanks. Purple and green are my favourite colours and I make sure to take a moment to admire the beauty of the swirls and enjoy how good the shape of the pen feels in my hand. Funnily enough, it was the first pen I dropped nib-first. Gave myself a tattoo in the process. Some months later, the blue dot is gone and the nib is back to its full glory. I have fallen in love with custom pens due to their patterns and resin pours, but the Custom’s fees are keeping me away from those that I love…
4- Vintage Montblanc 146
I’ve been in love with this pen since I was a kid. It’s one of those purchases that was bound to happen eventually. I’m starting to realise that a good chunk of the pens I got this year were second hand and that makes me happy. I get to give a home to a pen that needed it and the previous owner can rest assured that their pen will be used lovingly and looked after.
5- Opus 88 Minty
I almost put Pilot Custom 823 in here, but then decided that Minty would be a better candidate. That pen gets a lot of love and all of that love and praise is deserved. The reason why Minty stole its mention is that I didn’t expect it to be this good. It’s a solid, reliable pen that nobody really gives much attention to. It deserves some extra praise.
In the end, I buy my pens to use them, and to use them everyday. I have to enjoy using that pen more than I enjoy buying it.
And, oh, how much I love my pens.
I’m seeing pens in my dreams when I don’t pick one up for two days.
I see pens in my dreams that I have been waiting for the right time to buy.
I dream the pens I left at home when I’m on a holiday. I miss the ones I didn’t take.
I don’t think it is an unhealthy obsession. Some people dream of fame and super cars, of going to space and exploring the universe. I dream of pens, of writing, of books. It has been always like this, and I’m pretty sure it will continue to be like this.
It’s a good time to be a pen lover and with every post I see on Instagram, on Reddit, on Youtube, I’m more convinced of it. I didn’t even start to talk about inks, and I love inks. It’s a good time to be an ink lover too.
Of course, this was also the year I launched this blog. It took a while to find my footing and I cringe slightly at my earlier posts. I might have to re-write some…
It’s okay though, I love writing -good or bad- and I love writing about the pens I have. I want to say a huge thank you to the people writing blogs and sharing their pen love, you inspire me and I try to read most of them. My biggest thank you goes to the THOUSANDS of people that read this blog every month, the ones who hang around for a chat or leave a comment. I started this hobby because I loved pens, and stayed for the people. I could’ve never imagined this and I have no words to describe how thankful I am.
Here’s to a year much better than this one. May the new year be plentiful and with lots of writing. My goal is to finish my first ink bottle!
Happy holidays and have a lovely new year!
Thank you for reading. It’s a very long post today -and without pictures. I’m away to spend some time with my family over these couple of weeks, so I’ll be back in 2023!